Clay Battelle, Local Sports, Sports

Luzader, Barr power Clay-Battelle past Valley

BLACKSVILLE — There are times when it’s better to watch, bide your time, and then get the job done when you’re needed the most. 

Thursday night, the Clay-Battelle boys basketball team raced out in front of Valley (Wetzel) early, then once again saw that lead evaporate – and dynamic CB forward Preston Luzader watched it happen from the bench, sitting for almost the entire second quarter with foul trouble. So when he got back on the floor to start the second half, Luzader turned his and his team’s night around, scoring 18 of his 20 points in the final two quarters to power the Cee-Bees to an impressive 86-53 victory. 

“Coach (Josh) Kisner kind of got after us a little bit,” Luzader smiled. “So we came out really ready to play. Sometimes when things go super easy at the beginning of a game, you figure the whole night’s gonna be easy. But that’s when we got careless, and they got hot from the outside, and we found ourselves in another tight game that maybe shouldn’t have been tight. I just tried to play big, go up strong, and get to the line.” 

Clay-Battelle (4-3) , and especially forward Colby Barr, who scored nine of his team-high 21 points in the first quarter, came out smoking hot, attacking the rim and burying open jumpers to forge a big 13-0 lead after just 150 seconds and stretched the advantage to 22-8 with two minutes left in the quarter.

However, a late 10-2 Lumberjack run, fueled by a pair of very long threes from very small Trevor Stackpole, whittled the gap to six, 24-18. The Cee-Bees pushed back out to a 30-20 lead midway through the second, but sloppy passing and several missed chip shots at the rim gave Valley (5-3) a chance to cobble together a 9-0 run to close to 30-29 with two minutes left in the half.

Clay-Battelle scored six late to carry a thin 36-30 advantage at the break.    

Then it was Luzader time. With several assists from Matthew Gadd, Luzader scored nine straight, including two conventional three-point plays, and Gadd buried an early three, fed his fellow forward for several paint points, then drilled another triple at the buzzer to push a close game at the half into a healthy 63-40 bulge at the end of three. The fight was gone from the Lumberjacks, allowing the Cee-Bees to stretch out, empty the bench, and cruise to the 33-point win.  

“We felt like we needed to control their guards (Derby and Stackpole) better,” Kisner explained. “So we made sure we doubled them and had hands in their face, and it worked, especially in that big third quarter. And we reminded them that our strength is our size and how our big men see the floor and share the ball, so we held it high, cut hard, and executed well. It’s how we are most effective, and when we do that, we’re tough to handle.” 

Gavin Derby paced the Lumberjacks with 21, while the Cee-Bees’ Kohlton St. Clair hit four threes on his way to 18 points and Gadd scored 15. 

Clay-Battelle rescheduled Tuesday’s flood-postponed home game against Cameron to January 25 and will host Wood County Christian next Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.  

Valley Wetzel   18    12   10   13 – 53 

Clay-Battelle     24    12   27   23 – 86 

VALLEY (5-3) 

Brigg Anderson 1 0-3 2; Patrick Higginbotham 5 0-0 13; Chris Kennedy 1 1-2 3; Trevor Stackpole 2 1-2 7; Gavin Derby 7 4-9 21; Landen Jerico 3 0-3 7; Totals 19 6-19 53 


Carson Shriver 2 2-2 6; Kohlton St. Clair 7 0-1 18;  Adam Kolat 2 2-2 6; Colby Barr 10 1-4 21; Preston Luzader 6 8-8 20;  Matthew Gadd 5 2-3 15; Totals 32 15-20 86 

Three-pointers – Valley 9 (Derby 3, Stackpole 2, Higginbotham 3, Jerico), CB 7 (St. Clair 4, Gadd 3) 


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